IMPLEMENTATION OF AN INJURY AND ILLNESS SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM IN PARALYMPIC ATHLETES (ISSPA) – A STUDY IN GERMAN PARACYCLING ATHLETES

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Abstract

Background

Despite the increasing training and competition load of disabled athletes, a standardised monitoring system of their injuries and illnesses is sparse.

Objective

The aim of this study was the implementation of a standardised, weekly recording of all injuries and illnesses in the cohort of the German paracycling national team.

Design/Setting

The athletes were monitored over a 24-week period from October 2015 till March 2016 using a validated weekly online questionnaire (Clarsen et al. 2014). All musculoskeletal complaints and illnesses, restrictions in training and therapeutic measures were documented.

Participants

24 out of 26 athletes of the German paracycling national team were included in this study after informed consent.

Main Outcome Measurements

This longitudinal study recorded all injuries and illnesses in the German paracycling national team over a 24 week period. All medical problems (illnesses, acute and overuse injuries), limitation of performance and loss of training-days were documented.

Results

The average response rate was 93%. A total of 57 health problems were registered during 24 weeks, including 30 illnesses and 27 injuries. The most frequent diagnoses were injuries of the shoulder, the wrist or the knee joint, urinary tract infections in wheelchair athletes and infections of the respiratory system. Overall, 140 lost training-days because of injury (27 d) or illness (111 d) were reported.

Conclusions

An injury and illness surveillance system in the German paracycling national team for a continued, systematic documentation of medical problems during the non-competition period could be successfully been implemented. The athletes were very satisfied and showed a high acceptance of the project. By identifying mechanisms of injury and associated risk factors in disabled athletes, sports-specific injury and illness prevention programs can be implemented.

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